Friday, November 14, 2008

Where's the beef?

Since I just finished this latest diorama, I thought I would share it with you. It's based on a laser cut wood structure kit (my first actually) from Durango Press that they refer to as the newspaper office. Having scratch built many of my structures and used several different plastic kits, I wanted to go with an inexpensive laser wood kit for my first. I wasn't quite sure I would like them and to be quite frank, I'm not terribly enthused. Don't get me wrong, the kit was fine and turned out pretty good but I felt a bit constricted in just what it was I could do with it and the tolerances aren't what I myself like to deal with. Be that as it may, I had some fun with it and I hope you enjoy the end result. This is the photo that comes on the box to give you an idea of the manufacturers intentions.

The first step I took was to layout the building on a piece of 1/4" plywood, size the wood and seal it with shellac. I decided to do a butcher shop and use the small shed addition for a smokehouse building separate from the main structure. The next decision was to create a different elevation in the rear by making the basement a walkout. I used Evergreen styrene brick wall for foundations and added the window and doors to make it a walkout. By shaping and gluing 1" extruded styrofoam insulation board I was able to make the elevations for this configuration. As you can see, I've already assembled and braced the main structure and cut the foundation walls here but everything is just dry stacked for the moment.

At this point I know my footprint sizes so I am able to do some grading with plaster. Normally I like to paint the dried and shaped plaster with a dark color but all I had was red primer so this is what you see in the next photo. I've also finished building a door from wood and added the window to the brickwork. The sharp drop in grade between the buildings has had a retaining wall built from cut linoleum flooring. I individually painted the bricks to give a slight variation to the color and washed it with an acrylic linen white for the mortar joints. The doors have been distressed with a razor saw and washed with a rather thick wash of RR Tie brown acrylic then weathered with chalks.

I proceeded to tackle the small smokehouse then and used the same painting method as on the other brick. It has a corrugated steel roof on it and the sidewalls were weathered using the RR Tie brown with a wash of red chalk dissolved in alcohol. You'll notice some ground cover here that I put down that consists of a screened gravel I acquire from well drilling spoils. The roof is a bit too orange in this photo and you will see that I toned it down later. I put a wood jamb for the upper door and used another piece of corrugation for it and just boarded the window over.

Now was the time to do a little sceniking with Woodland Scenics coarse grass and a lot of natural materials. I'm always anxious to get to the point that I "plant" my structures permanently. After doing the signage on the front of the shop and installing the windows and tab shingle roof, I was ready. And with some additional details like a wood pile and some obligatory junk laying around I took it outside for the next photos.

Now I'm one that can't leave well enough alone. I just had to keep moving on this diorama since I saw so much potential for super detailing further. Everything else you are about to see makes up what I hope is the finished product. I've utilized several of the vehicles I already have built like the telephone pole truck, Ford Model AA stakebody and '37 Chevy panel truck and added a recently completed 1926 Essex coach. The butcher carrying a hind quarter (with newly added apron), pole crew, sheep and stuffy lady going into the shop to place an order were the last to be done to the diorama. How about a bunch of finished pics?

I dedicated this butcher shop diorama to Ken Hamilton whom has been a tremendous inspiration over the years with his phenomenal skills and generous advice. I only wish that my work can be nearly as good as his some day. It is my hope that this has been the least bit entertaining and I appreciate your time in viewing. And to all of you that have left your nice comments I will say thanks. Please know that they are truly valued.

1 comment:

Scott Jay said...

Wow! Chester that is amazing! I hope that some day I can have a scene that looks as realistic as that!

Thanks for sharing!